Jim Morrison and the Doors in History for April
Explore Jim Morrison and the Doors in a unique timing and the cultural, social, historical and political events which led up to that time.


Today is St. Zeno's Day - A spurious saint's day, drawn from a classical story of the philosopher Zeno who was ordered executed by being ground in a mortar.  Before his execution, he called the tyrant who ordered his death to come listen to a great secret. When the man knelt down, Zeno bit his ear off. Some say this is the source of the phrase 'biting remark'.

1624 - Galileo's hearing before the Inquisition begins, on the issue of the heresy surrounding his recently published Dialogues, which in the Church's eyes supported the Copernican or heliocentric system of the universe. The Church regarded the theory that the sun was the center of the universe as heresy.

1857 - The first installment of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary is published in Revue de Paris. The novel was condemned by the Church and by the regime of Napoleon because of its frank depiction of an adulterous woman.

1861 - Confederates fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, thus starting the American Civil War.

1905 - The Hippodrome opens in New York City with the gala musical revue, A Yankee Circus on Mars. This extraordinary event would go off without a single hitch–or a single hippo.

1909 - Lionel Hampton plied pummeling on the vibes into one hell of a career, working with Gene Krupa, Harry James, and Coleman Hawkins. He is born today in Louisville, KY.

1914 - The Strand movie theater opens in New York City. The theater was the first movie "palace," seating 3,000 people and boasting a second-floor balcony. Enormous theaters would catch on in the following decades.

1921 - Blues singer Shakey Jake Harris is born today in Earle, AK. He was given the name because of his way of throwing dice. His albums included 1972's Devil's Harmonica.

1933 - Tiny Tim first comes tiptoeing through the tulips, with Edwardian novelty songs and banjo in tow, on this day in New York. His real name is Herbert Khaury.

1939 - Playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn is born in London. He grew up in a home in which, he said, 'I was surrounded by relationships that weren't altogether stable, the air was often blue, and things were sometimes flying across the kitchen.' At seventeen he joined a local theater company, doing bit parts and stage managing. His plays include Absent Friends (1975), The Norman Conquests (1977), Absurd Person Singular (1973), and, most recently, Comic Potential (2000). His play House & Garden (2000) consisted of two over-lapping full-length plays that perform simultaneously in adjoining theaters. Intimate Exchanges (1985) has 2 first acts, 4 second acts, 8 third acts, and 16 fourth acts — because each episode concludes with a choice.

1940 - Pianist, composer, arranger and producer Herbie Hancock is born in Chicago.

1942 - Larry Ramos, multi-instrumentalist with the psychedelic Los Angeles group the Association, is born today in Hawaii.

1942 - Actor Frank Bank of television's Leave it to Beaver is born.

1944 - John Kay, the prime mover behind Steppenwolf, is born Joachim Krauledat in Tilsit, Germany.

1945 - U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage in his home at Warm Springs, Georgia, on this day in 1945. The only man to be elected to four terms as president of the United States, Roosevelt is remembered–by friends and enemies alike–for his New Deal social policies and his leadership during wartime.

1950 - Actors Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward welcome their new son and future heartthrob, David Cassidy.

1954 - Bill Haley and his band, the Comets, record Rock Around the Clock. The song was released in May and barely made the pop charts, spending one week at No. 23.

Two years later, though, it became a hit after producer James Myers sent copies of the song to dozens of Hollywood producers, suggesting they use the song in a movie. The producers of Blackboard Jungle (1955), a controversial film about juvenile delinquency, selected the song as a theme for the movie. After the movie opened, sales of Rock Around the Clock skyrocketed, selling six million copies by the end of 1955. The song climbed to the top of the charts in July 1955, becoming the first rock and roll song to reach No. 1.

Although rock and roll had been around since the late 1940s, the sound didn't penetrate into the white American mainstream until Haley drew attention to the style, paving the way for future rock and roll artists of all races.

1954 - Big Joe Turner releases his rendition of Shake, Rattle and Roll.

1955 - The venerable national radio show Your Hit Parade celebrates its 20th anniversary today.

1956 - Actor Andy Garcia is born.

1961 - Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin becomes the first man to orbit the Earth.

1961 - Walt W. Rostow, senior White House specialist on Southeast Asia and a principal architect of U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine, delivers a memorandum to President John F. Kennedy asserting that the time has come for "gearing up the whole Vietnam operation." All the proposals outlined in his memorandum would eventually become policy.

1963 - Police use dogs and cattle prods on peaceful civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama.

1963 - Bob Dylan performs a solo concert at New York's Town Hall. It's recorded by CBS for a planned live album, but the disc is never released. Billboard, however, is ecstatic about the performance. 'Dylan,' it says, 'is the stuff of which legends are made ... His talent will be around for a long, long time.' They got that one right.

1966 - Jan Berry of Jan & Dean wipes out in a car crash on Los Angeles' Whittier Boulevard. The surf duo had ironically recorded a song called Deadman's Curve. Berry remains paralyzed for a year and can speak properly only after four years of surgery.

1968 - Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention are invited to play the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences dinner in New York. Zappa tells the audience, 'All year long you people have manufactured this crap, now for one night you're gonna have to listen to it!'

1968 - Today's issue of Life magazine features plenty of pictures of mysterious L.A. band the Doors and their frontman, Jim Morrison, in their article Wicked Go The Doors.

1969 - A million young hearts are broken when Paul McCartney marries Linda Eastman.

1970 - The Doors play the University of Denver Arena.

1971 - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's live album Four Way Street is certified gold before it even appears on the LP chart.

1972 - The Rolling Stones release Exile on Main Street.

1973 - According to Rolling Stone, a Buffalo Springfield album is imminent. 'It's all up to Neil right now,' says Richie Furay. We're still waiting.

1975 - Legendary singer and Paris sensation Josephine Baker dies in France several days after a massive stroke at age 68.

1975 - Linda Ronstadt's When Will I Be Loved? is released.

1975 - The U.S. ambassador and his staff leave Phnom Penh when the U.S. Navy conducts its evacuation effort, Operation Eagle. On April 3, 1975, as the communist Khmer Rouge forces closed in for the final assault on the capital city, U.S. forces were put on alert for the impending embassy evacuation.

1984 - Olympia, Washington, holds a Louie Louie Day in an effort to make the famed song the state anthem. The campaign is unsuccessful.

1985 - In a day filled with circus events, federal inspectors declare that four animals of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus are not unicorns, as the circus said, but goats with horns which had been surgically implanted. The circus is ordered to quit advertising the fake unicorns as anything else but goats.

1987 - Believe it or not, they're still smashing rock records in Dallas. However, the latest demonstration is complicated by protestors who chant 'Jesus loves rock 'n' roll.'

1988 - Sonny Bono is elected Mayor of Palm Springs, California.

1989 - Abbie Hoffman, yippie peace activist of the 60s, is found dead at his home in New Hope, PA. Hoffman was 52. 

1989 - Herbert Mills, a member of the vocalizing family group the Mills Brothers, dies in Las Vegas on his 77th birthday from viral meningitis. The group helped pioneer the doo-wop sound by mimicking instruments with their voices.

1990 - The Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Az, names four recently discovered asteroids after the four Beatles.

2000 - Bo Diddley files suit against Nike for using his name and image without permission.  Nike is accused of continuing to use his image after a contract expired in 1991.

Doors History Spotlight: The Doors are featured in Life magazine

1968 - Today's issue of Life magazine features a piece on the Doors called Wicked Go the Doors. Jim Morrison, reports writer Fred Powledge, 'is 24 years old, out of U.C.L.A. and he appears in public and on his records to be moody, tempermental, enchanted in the mind and extremely stoned on something.'

Fred Powledge was present at the Doors concert in New Haven, to witness the first time a rocker had ever been arrested in performance. He and other Life magazine staffers covering the event attempted to prevent police brutality, only to be arrested themselves. His article is based on this experience. (He very much liked The Doors, BTW!)

This issue of Life was in production with a photo of Jim Morrison on the cover, until Martin Luther King was assassinated, and the focus of the issue changed.

Doors History Spotlight: The Doors play the Iniversity of Denver Arena

1970 - The Doors and the promoter are greeted at the arena by the notorious Denver vice squad, known as 'McKevitt's Marauders.' The 'Marauders' proceed to scrutinize every aspect of the event, bringing in cameras and tape recorders to capture any perceived indiscretion in the event it is needed for evidence.

At one point during the show, for example, Jim Morrison is spotted consuming a beer, which he drinks in huge gulps, frequently followed by an uninhibited belch, and the squad moves in to arrest him for consuming alcoholic beverages in public.

The promoter is quick on his feet, however, challenging the squad to consider the consequences if he has to go onstage and explain why the show is being shut down. McKevitt backs down, satisfied that at least he has confiscated Morrison's beer supply. When Jim discovers this, he approaches the audience with the request for a beer, and is deluged with about two dozen cans.

Overall, it is a flamboyant and theatrical 2 hour concert which grips the audience's attention from beginning to end, largely owing to Jim Morrison's genius for 'formulating spontaneity.' As the opening notes to Back Door Man resound, Morrison leaps onto the stage bathed in red and purple lights, reeling and spinning until he latches onto the microphone, spitting out a frightful, high pitched laugh and the introductory verse without missing a beat. Throughout the show he alternately paces the stage and straddles the microphone stand, periodically collapsing on stage in wrenched contortions. Ultimately, the only dissatisfied members of the audience are the vice squad, who leave the show empty handed. (WAY TO GO, JIM!)

For more day-by-day history go to HistoryUnlimited.net